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STORYCENTER Blog

We are pleased to present posts by StoryCenter staff, storytellers, colleagues from partnering organizations, and thought leaders in Storywork and related fields.

Filtering by Category: Project News

From the Vanderbilt Reporter: VUSN video workshop helps teens cope with type 1 diabetes

Emily Paulos

A group of adolescents gathered at the downtown Nashville Public Library last week for a three-day Digital Storytelling Workshop to learn how to write, edit and produce a video about managing their type 1 diabetes.

The project is part of research by Shelagh Mulvaney, Ph.D., associate professor of Nursing, and her team into the design, development and testing of a Web and mobile phone-based self-care support system for this population.

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Updates from StoryCenter's Public Health Programs - Summer 2015

Emily Paulos

New Public Health Webinar Series
For many years, the StoryCenter has been supporting researchers and community practitioners as they explore how storytelling can enhance public health promotion. This year, we share some of our best public health strategies through a series of new, two-hour webinars.

Stories for Food Justice
We at StoryCenter are excited to share a beautiful set of academic and community stories about paths to food justice, created through a collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture-funded Food Dignity project.

Seeding New Conversations about Sexual and Reproductive Health … in the United States and Abroad
Have you wondered when young people’s stories and voices will be taken seriously, when it comes to public conversations about sexual and reproductive health?

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The Real Family Project: Celebrating Birthdays, Finding Community

Root Barrett

Last week, I had a beautiful birthday.  I will admit that it was mostly due to Joe and  his beautiful community.  It is always weird to be the one entering a completely  new world.  Joe, in his letter about my birthday, mentioned the importance of that date for us.  It is the moment that this story really began.

For me, birthdays have always been troubling.  It is not because I am growing a year older.  I am oddly at peace with my age, and I probably should be after it has been made public through this project everywhere.  For an adoptee, a birthday is a memory of loss.  It is the one day a year that you remember completely and without question that you once belonged to someone else.

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The Real Family Project: Being Thankful for Birthdays

Root Barrett

Every time I'm on Facebook I notice who is having a birthday.  Social media is mainly distracting, but that little convenience, being reminded about a friend's birthday, somehow balances out the distractions.  It feels great to say Happy Birthday to someone every day of the year.

I believe all lives deserve a shout out, at least once a year, if not 365, by a large number of people, who simply say, it is great you exist.

Tatiana turns 42 on Wednesday, November 26.  In 1972, that date was on a Sunday.  I imagine myself that weekend in 1972, aware that the birth mother was preparing to have a child, perhaps she had gone into labor the day before.  I had asked to be there, but perhaps the home where Tatiana was born was not so keen on the idea of the birth dad's being present, or perhaps it was decided by our parents it was not the best.  I know I never saw Tatiana at birth.  I wonder what that would have been like.

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The Real Family Project: In Tatiana's Words

Root Barrett

A couple of weeks back, I accidentally kicked my son’s twenty-five pound weight. It still hurt a couple of weeks later, so I went to a doctor. At the doctor’s office, I was given the medical form to fill out. I realized that this was the first time in forty-one years that I actually could fill out this form. I had all of the information. I briefly wondered if I should call Joe.

This is what it means to be adopted.

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Presenting The Real Family Project

Root Barrett

We are writing to invite you to become part of a journey with us: a journey to explore the story of two people finding each other across 40 years of time, to look at the issues of adoptees and their families, and to make sense of what it means to construct family in the twenty-first century. 

Our names are Tatiana Beller and Joe Lambert.  We are both writers and media professionals.  We are both steeped in the issues of story, of life, of culture.  We were both born in Texas.  We both have boys, 19 years old, one Sebastian, one Massimo Sebastian, born 2 weeks apart.   

Joe is Tatiana's birth father. Tatiana is Joe's biological child. Father? Daughter? The names give us trouble.  We are strangers who know each other in a very peculiar, a very profound, way. 

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The Power of Youth-Centered Advocacy – by Elizabeth Peck

Root Barrett

Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Peck is the Public Policy Director of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, a partner on the “Hear Our Stories” project. A partnership of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the Care Center, the Center for Digital Storytelling, the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program at Hampshire College, the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the project aims to recalibrate the existing conversation about teen motherhood from stigmatizing young moms to promoting their sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice.

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Breaking Down Walls: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“I got very emotional when I read my story aloud in the first story circle before the recording. Probably it’s because November was the month when Esther passed away; this is the fifth anniversary of her death. When I said that line about the anniversary of her death, I just broke. I felt so vulnerable because I was embarrassed and then Mr. Westmoreland said, ‘Just breathe.’ That was when I was able to actually sit up and continue to read the rest of what I had written. Then when I actually did the recording, I didn’t cry. I started to get choked up toward the end, and I got choked up when Eugenia played it back. But when I actually recorded it, I didn’t cry. I’ll never forget that, when Mr. Westmoreland just said, ‘Breathe.’"

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The Point of Storytelling : All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“When I told my story in our small breakout session, I got the whole point of storytelling. It’s a way to initiate conversation. That’s when other folks were asking me, ‘How is your brother a U.S. citizen, but you’re undocumented? How come your parents didn’t do it this way or that way?’ That’s when you actually sit down and have the conversation about this is how our legal system works. For example, my mother had her work sponsorship from 2001, and it wasn’t until like last year that her appeal for residency was even taken into consideration. That’s when you can talk about the 10-year backlog in our current immigration system. You can talk about what it’s like to be a youth living through that with no control of the matter. But it’s that initial storytelling that opens up that conversation.”

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A Southern Boy: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“I'm a Southern boy. I was born in Alabama. My dad was from Mississippi. This was in the Twenties and Thirties, and I grew up in an extremely segregated society. I ended up clearly outside—far beyond—the racial rage I was raised in as a child. I gave that up. There was something obscene about it.”

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The Artists’ Side: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“The March on Washington: I remember my parents being very afraid for me to go. You know, thinking something was going to happen. I was kind of afraid too, but I knew that I had to do this, that it didn't matter whether I lived or died. I was going to go peaceably. I wasn't trying to fight. I wasn't going to get arrested, but I wanted to be there.”

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Meet Them Where They Are: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

Our All Together Now series of free civil and human rights Storied Session workshops is about bringing generations together to learn from each other what it means to stand for our rights. But it can be a challenge to make that learning reciprocal: how do you ensure that each generation feels equally welcome to listen deeply and speak truly? How can elders learn from youngers and vice versa?

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Nobody Ever Asked: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

Philadelphia is a long way from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, but Lisa Haynes was thrilled to make the trip this past weekend to co-facilitate the very first half-day Storied Session in our free All Together Now series of civil and human rights workshops.

To the contrary, Lisa knows how important it is to bring the generations together for these groundbreaking conversations. “The stories that were around that table,” said Lisa, “we could have been there for four days getting very significant, rich stories about their experience in Elizabeth City dealing with racism and the civil rights movement. There is such a need to talk and have exchanges. It's just so unbelievable to me how deep the well is. The older people were like, ‘Oh, I can't wait to give this website to my grandchild so they can see.’ That's what they all wanted. The younger people left that workshop that much more empowered, understanding the history of this, that this is not the first time these challenges have happened. You can't discount that sort of exchange.”

 

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Four Little Girls: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“Four little girls were killed in Birmingham yesterday. A mad, remorseful, worried community asks, ‘Who did it, who threw that bomb?’ The answer should be ‘We all did it.’ Every last one of us is condemned for that crime and the bombing before it and the ones last month, last year, a decade ago. We all did it.”

This past Sunday marked the fiftieth anniversary of another bloody and tragic Sunday, one that inspired civil rights lawyer Charles Morgan to make the speech that starts with these powerful lines. On September 15, 1963, just a couple of weeks after the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, a member of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls: three 14 year-olds—Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley—and 11 year-old Denise McNair. The bomber was initially convicted only of possessing dynamite, receiving a six-month sentence and a $100 fine. It took 14 years to bring him to justice: the case was reopened in 1971, and he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1977.

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StoryCenter Partners with WeVideo and Takes Digital Storytelling to the Cloud

Root Barrett

Berkeley, CA (September 16, 2013) – Center for Digital Storytelling (StoryCenter) is sharing its expertise in powerful personal storytelling with video editors and content developers across the WeVideo user spectrum.

"The world is moving to the cloud, and so is Digital Storytelling with the enormously innovative online tool WeVideo," says Joe Lambert, Founder and Director of the Center for Digital Storytelling. "The cross platform, affordable, and easy-to-use editor has the potential to revolutionize the practices of Digital Storytelling in countless contexts. We can see teachers creating collaborative projects in international educational exchanges, small companies encouraging storytelling about their engagement with customers with the customers themselves, social service and human rights advocates working in new partnerships with local communities via the web, and many, many more uses. We are more than pleased to join forces with WeVideo."  

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Crossing Borders: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

"It was very obvious, it was really very visceral and very upfront what people's prejudices and stereotypes were when I was a kid growing up," Alberto Olivas told us, describing his early childhood in rural Georgia in the seventies. Alberto directs the Center for Civic Participation for the Maricopa Community College District in Phoenix, Arizona. Next month, we'll be offering one of our very special series of free Storied Session workshops across the U.S. at the Urban League in Phoenix, and Alberto was explaining why he supports this project. All Together Now: Intergenerational Stories of Civil and Human Rights is aiming to bridge the generation gap and honor a legacy by engaging elders and young people in sharing stories of standing up for hard-won rights.

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Renewing A Legacy, Connecting Generations: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

Dr. Eugenia Gardner, an oral historian and digital storytelling facilitator-in-training, attended the 50th Anniversary March on Washington this past Saturday. She joined thousands in honoring the civil rights pioneers who gathered fifty years ago today, on August 28, 1963, for the original March on Washington for Jobs and Justice. She has been helping StoryCenter to organize and lead a very special series of free Storied Session workshops across the U.S. All Together Now: Intergenerational Stories of Civil and Human Rights is aiming to bridge the generation gap and honor a legacy by engaging elders and young people in sharing stories of standing up for hard-won rights. . .

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All Together Now: Generations Sharing Stories of Civil and Human Rights

Root Barrett

For those who cherish civil and human rights, this is a year of many anniversaries. One is very much on our minds right now: the epochal events of August 28, 1963, when 250,000 Americans joined the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." StoryCenter is planning a series of free All Together Now Storied Sessions as our gift to communities across the nation this fall. If you like the idea, we'd love to hear how you can help. We'll announce the schedule in coming weeks, so please watch this blog for information on how to take part. 

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